The Customer Requirement
A long standing client of Fuse Collaboration, Northamptonshire County Council wanted a system that was able to publish and maintain an employee handbook, whilst being able to service the day-to-day HR queries of 4500+ employees across multiple locations.
Such a system would also be required to have integration with Microsoft Word, navigation, branding, advanced search, security, approval processes, internal and external access and user feedback.
SharePoint was the obvious solution to their requirements, especially as it was already widely used within the organisation. As a Microsoft Partner, we have delivered this solution according to best practices whilst satisfying our client’s bespoke development requirements.
Our Approach - Due to our client’s branding and strict accessibility requirements we offered a fairly heavily customised solution although many of the other required features could be achieved using SharePoint’s built in features.
SharePoint Site - We created a custom standalone SharePoint site that contained multiple lists, document libraries and content types. These provided the backbone of the solution.
Navigation - A unique requirement of the solution was that our client needed to present three separate versions of the Handbook to three different groups of employees. This was achieved via a custom ‘context aware’ navigation menu which only displayed relevant pages to the current user.
Search - SharePoint is known for its Search facilities and these provided the perfect solution for our client. We created custom scopes and rules in order to provide relevant search results for users. The provided web parts were customisable so we could meet the client’s exact requirements.
Approval Processes - The Policies and Forms stored in the handbook are of a legal nature and needed approval prior to publishing. SharePoint provides workflow capabilities for this type of thing.
Word integration - We created several template documents and associated them with custom content types allowing site managers to easily create new content. Training was given on how to hyperlink between Policies and Forms and we were then able to capture these links using the SharePoint object model and present them to users on the web pages as an additional navigation method.
Security - We created three custom permission groups enabling us to lock the site down exactly to requirements. SharePoint’s integration with Active Directory meant users are automatically logged in when they visit the site.
Internal & External Access - SharePoint allows for multiple access paths into an application and each of these can use different authentication mechanisms. We have taken advantage of this to allow different user groups to have access to the Handbook whether they are within the corporate intranet or not.